Any type of arthritis means an inflammation of joints. This disease affects joints of knees, hips, and wrists, parts or backbone and other parts of body, causing pain and restricting movement. In the case of osteoarthritis, which is one of the most widespread joint diseases in the world, patients feel pain because the layer of their cartilages wears off and reduces.
In the early stage of disease the cartilage loses its fluid. When the disease progresses, the cartilage hardens, increasing the risk of damage in the case of overload or even small trauma. When the cartilage wears off, changes occur in the bones, forming different growths, which reinforce pain, especially during physical activities. Patient feels stronger pain, resuming movement after a longer period of peace. Later pain appears also in the peacetime and intensifies in wet weather. In the case of osteoarthritis morning stiffness is no longer than 15 – 30 minutes.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disease, which, in most cases, appears when a person grows older. However, this ailment affects not only the elderly, but also young people, especially after traumas, because of metabolism disorders as well as because of overload during intensive physical activities, physical work, and overweight. Everyone has to take into account that overweight affects both big and small joints, for example, toes, therefore the cause often is both heredity and lifestyle. In addition, after joint injury signs of osteoarthritis often appear only after several years.
Expressions of arthritis may be different, but there is always pain, which may be a sign of osteoarthritis or of some inflammatory and autoimmune joint disease. That is why the patient has to visit the doctor, who determines an accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and necessary medications. So far, there are no drugs, which can convincingly cure the osteoarthritis or stop its progression, but there are many opportunities how to relieve the symptoms and improve the quality of life.
An excellent prophylaxis as opposed to excessive physical load are proportionate activities (strength, stretching, aerobic, or endurance exercises) because motionless lifestyle increases the risk of this disease, encouraging an atrophy of joint tissues. It is recommended to lose an excessive weight and stop to overload the affected joint. Alternately applied hot and cold procedures improve mobility and reduce pain – heat in the morning or after a longer period of peace, cold after physical exertion or in the case of inflammation.
For bone strength and for prophylaxis of osteoarthritis, use vitamin D and calcium. Also mechanic aids are very useful, especially fasteners of hip joint or special insoles, which help to fix joints and distribute the load more evenly. Painkillers are usually effective only in the early stages of disease. They are used, starting with lighter and switching to stronger. Also warming ointments provide some pain relief.
Talking about joint diseases, glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate are often mentioned. These are natural substances, which are in the cartilage of joint and which can be bought in the form of medicines and food supplements. If the disease has already started, the form of medicine is recommended. When choosing food supplements, follow the dosages – recommended dosage of glucosamine is 1500 mg, but recommended dosage of chondroitin sulphate is 1200 mg. Remember that both of these substances should be used quite long period of time. Patients, who suffer from osteoarthritis, can also use rosehip extract and Omega-3 fatty acids (500 – 1000 mg per day), as they positively affect the course of disease. The last and the most radical treatment option of osteoarthritis is joint arthroplasty.